C Talley Run

Rumblings and mishaps of a Strava and runDisney obsessed trail and road runner.

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Race Recap: Glass Slipper Challenge – Enchanted 10K and Princess Half Marathon

After running races at Disneyland since 2007 I finally got the chance to run a race at Walt Disney World. The Princess Half Marathon wasn’t my first choice but since all of my runDisney friends and family are women I lost that vote. That’s okay because I was finally going to get my Coast to Coast medal which you get for running a half marathon or greater at each park in the same calendar year. I usually don’t care much for the bonus medals but this one is pretty cool.

I’ve done a few multi-day race challenges before and I’ve had a hard time balancing efforts between the races. This time I was doing the Glass Slipper Challenge which consists of the Enchanted 10K on Saturday and the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. Since men aren’t eligible to receive awards in the Princess Half Marathon I planned to race the 10K and use the half as an easy paced training run. Since the Star Wars Half Marathon I had been doing a bit of speed work on the track and I was looking to PR. The only thing that would work against me was our arrival date and itinerary. We landed in Florida on the Sunday before the race and would spend five days walking around theme parks before the 10K.

Saturday morning came early. As in 2:30 AM early! I had heard warnings from several people that you should try to be on one of the first shuttles to the race from the hotel. At 3:20 we made our way down to the buses which started running at 3:30. The first was full and we hopped right on the second one. No lines, no fuss. A few minutes later we were unloaded in the Epcot parking lot.

After hanging out for about an hour I headed over to my corral. Positioning was a little tricky since there is a corral staging area where they hold you until the group is escorted over to the starting line. A few people jumped in front of me on the way over but I weaseled my way back onto the starting line. After some words from the reigning Miss America, Kira Kazantsev our Fairy Godmother counted down and started the race!

I took off and found myself with an early lead. Maybe a quarter mile later Leonard Jackson shot by me and quickly dropped me. I had no intention of trying to hang with him since he was clearly much faster. My new goal was to try to hold position for the next six miles.

Enchanted 10K Start

Enchanted 10K Start

About a half mile in we went under an overpass where Frozen’s Anna and Elsa were hanging out. They were also blowing fake snow which I sucked in and nearly gagged on. At the first mile we did a U-turn and were greeted by the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. No time to wait, I’m late! Shortly thereafter we passed Tinker Bell and her sister Periwinkle. It was fitting to have the frost-talent fairy out on the chilly morning. Yeah, I know too much about fairies. My daughter loves them.

Enchanted 10K and Frozen 5K Course Map

Enchanted 10K and Frozen 5K Course Map

Before I knew it I had hit the 5K mark with a split of 18:47. This is about when the five days of walking around theme parks caught up to me. I slowed a bit on the fourth mile and knew it was going to be a fight to the finish.

About four and a half miles into the race we entered Epcot. I have never been in this park before but I wasn’t able to take in any of the sights. In all honesty between the darkness in the park and focusing on holding it together this portion of the race is a blur. I do remember passing Jiminy Cricket and Marie from Aristocats.  Right after exiting the park my bike escort peeled off and I knew it was a sprint to the finish.

I crossed the finish line is 38:33 in second place overall! 9 seconds ahead of the third place finisher. I know this being a women’s themed race the competition isn’t as strong as usual but I’m excited to have placed in such a highly attended race (10,989 finishers). I was a little surprised that no one said anything to me after the race. After walking through the finish chute I asked information about awards and they said it would come in the mail.

Celebrating 2nd Place in the 10K with Cinderella

Celebrating 2nd Place in the Enchanted 10K with Cinderella

Sunday was another early wake up call. For the half marathon the buses started running at 3:00 AM! I think we woke up at 2:15 and headed down to the buses at 2:50. Painfully early is all I really remember. Once again, there was little hassle or wait to get on the bus and we were in the Epcot parking lot in no time.

After hanging out on the bleachers in the family reunion area for about an hour we shuffled over to the corrals. Most people said it was about a mile walk from the reunion area to the corrals and it seemed close to that. Once I located corral B* it was time to wait for another hour for the race to start (*men can’t start in A).

The day’s agenda was vastly different than what I’m used to. I was going to take it easy and stop at most of the character photo stops. With a bunch of races coming up I didn’t want to put myself in a potion where I was spending time recovering from a fast half marathon that didn’t matter to me.

Princess Half Marathon Start

Princess Half Marathon Start

The course would take us through the Magic Kingdom and then back to the finish outside Epcot. Unlike the Disneyland races, most of the time is spent running on roads outside the parks. There is significantly less park time than the Disneyland races but since all of the roads are on Disney property you get character photo stops along the way.

Princess Half Marathon Course Map

Princess Half Marathon Course Map

I’m not going to go into much detail about the race since it was mostly uneventful. Instead I’ll just share all my character photos! The only ones I remember I didn’t stop for were Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and Sophia the First.

Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbosa

Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbosa

Vanellope von Schweetz

Vanellope von Schweetz (Wreck-It Ralph was on a break!)

The Heroes (Aladdin, Hercules, Captain Phoebus, John Smith, John Smith, Prince Eric, and Flynn Rider)

The Heroes (Aladdin, Hercules, Captain Phoebus, John Smith, John Smith, Prince Eric, and Flynn Rider)

The Villans (Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Vil, Maleficent, and The Evil Queen)

The Villans (Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Vil, Maleficent, and The Evil Queen)

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

Aurora and Prince Phillip

Aurora and Prince Phillip

Bert, Mary Poppins, and a Penguin

Bert, Mary Poppins, and a Penguin

With Genie on Vacation

With Genie on Vacation

After a short jaunt through Epcot I crossed the finish line in 1:36:57. Good for 15th man overall. I collected my medals including the Glass Slipper Challenge medal for running the 10K and the half marathon and my Coast to Coast Challenge medal for running a half and Disneyland (Star Wars Half Marathon) and this one at Walt Disney World.

Princess Half Marathon, Glass Slipper Challenge, and Enchanted 10K Medals

Princess Half Marathon, Glass Slipper Challenge, and Enchanted 10K Medals

It was a great week in Florida and I enjoyed spending time with my family and taking my daughters to WDW for the first time. While I enjoyed the races, I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to run another runDisney race at WDW any time soon. My home park of Disneyland offers a better experience without the huge cost of travel. My only complaint is that there wasn’t an award ceremony after the 10K. I know it isn’t the marque race of the weekend but you would think a race with 11,000 people would have one. I’ll just have to wait to get my trophy in the mail.

Star Wars Half Marathon Start


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Race Recap: Inaugural Star Wars 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Rebel Challenge

I’m back. 2014 was a rough year and my fitness and running slipped. I watched all of my times creep up and performed horribly at the races I focused on. In July I ran my first 100-miler, the Tahoe Rim Trail 100. The learning curve was huge and while I thought I was in shape to do well, I made a few mistakes along the way and paid for them. I finished in 31 hours and 35 minutes. That was a long time to be out there and it took even longer to recover from. In August, September, and October I hardly logged any miles.

Towards the end of October I started training for a series of half marathons I had already registered for. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angels Half Marathon, the Morgan Hill Half Marathon, and runDisney’s Avengers Half Marathon. I progressively improved my times from a 1:41 at Los Angels down to a 1:35 at Avengers. Still a far cry from what I am capable of.

That brings us to 2015. I’ve been working hard. Track Tuesday is now a staple of my workout week. My training volume is increasing at a slow but steady rate as I prepare for a slew of upcoming ultras, but before that I had something to prove to myself. That I can still run a fast. Fast for me at least.

The first test was the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend! I would be running the 5K and the Rebel Challenge which consisted of the Star Wars 10K and the Star Wars Half Marathon the following day. I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan my entire life so a race that is put on by runDisney that revolves around Star Wars could not be missed.

On Thursday we attended the expo for the race. Merchandise for this one was going to be a hot commodity and likely fly off the shelves. Luckily we got there early enough that we were able to get everything we were looking for. I picked up a few pins and a pint glass. It ended up being relatively painless since runDisney had us queue up in a conference room where they were playing Empire Strikes Back on a big screen.

Down in front! Empire is on!

Down in front! Empire is on!

Star Wars 5K Starting Line

Star Wars 5K Starting Line

Friday brought the Star Wars 5K which I ran with my wife and oldest daughter. We had a blast running through Disneyland and California Adventure. The lines for photos were pretty long but we couldn’t resist stopping for Chewie! After the race we collected our C-3PO medals and headed off to the parks.

Chewie

We had to stop for the wookiee.

Done with the 5K.

Done with the Star Wars 5K.

Next up was the Star Wars 10K on Saturday. I had originally planned to take this race easy so I could save myself for the half marathon on Sunday but at the last minute I decided to see if I could race both. I took the first four miles at a relatively easy pace averaging a 6:20 mile which I thought would be enough to put me in a good position to get an age group award while still saving something for the half. The next couple miles I ended up running in no mans land by myself and slowed a bit to save even more. This ended up being a huge mistake as I ended up being bumped out of third place in my age group by a mere 5 seconds. I ended with a time of 39:45, a PR, and in 19th place overall and 4th in my age group.

Star Wars 10K Start

Star Wars 10K Start

After just missing out on an age group award in the 10K I was going to give the half marathon everything I had left. The first 9 miles went well and I was on PR pace. Then I paid for pushing it on the 10K the day before. The wheels fell off and my pace increased by 30 seconds a mile until the end. I finished in 1:26:52. My second fastest half marathon which I am quite proud of considering I’m still on the comeback trail. Unfortunately, I missed out on an age group award for the second day in a row. This time by 39 seconds.

Star Wars Half Marathon Start

Star Wars Half Marathon Start

Star Wars Medals

Star Wars Medals

Jabba


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Monthly Miles: June Recap

June was the month that I was eagerly anticipating and dreading at the same time. It was to be my highest volume of mileage ever as I trained for the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 in July. The plan was to hit 400 miles for the month with 90 in the first week, 100 in the second, 110 in the third, and back down to 100 in the fourth. I had never done a single week of 100 miles so I was nervous and excited to see how I would hold out averaging 100 for four weeks.

The first week of June went very smoothly. I had taken the last week of May pretty easy in order to rest for what was to come. I ended up with 90 miles with 9,700 feet of elevation gain.

June Week 1 Training Volume

In the second week I finally crossed the 100 mile per week line for the first time in my running history. So far the plan was working pretty flawlessly. I was doing most of the running at relatively easy paces since doing this kind of volume was uncharted territory for me.

june2014-week2

During the third week the wheels started coming off the wagon a little bit. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I had horrible runs. I felt lethargic and like my legs were dead. Then all of a sudden I had an incredible run on Sunday and set a few Strava segment PRs. 110 miles in the book for the week which is my highest volume ever and probably will be for a while.

june2014-week3

Disaster struck on Monday of the fourth week. I was out shopping and when I went to grab a case of soda out from under the shopping cart to put on the register I pulled something in my back. This was on my rest day out of all days! I imagine it happened so easily because my body was fatigued. I took Tuesday off to nurse my injury. During this time I isolated the pain and figured it was my Piriformis and not my back. I’ve dealt with this problem before and know it actually helps to run through the pain. My week was somewhat salvaged.

After some serious massage on my Piriformis I was set to hit the road again. On Wednesday I put in a couple easy 6 milers to test out the back. It was still sore from the tension the tight Piriformis was placing on it but it felt better after I was done running. I fell short of my goal of 100 miles for the week but I was grateful to get some decent mileage after the back scare. It is still not 100% but should be by race day.

june2014-week4

I ended the month with 385 miles with 44,304 feet of vertical gain. I didn’t hit my goal of 400 miles but I’m fine with that. The more important goal is making it to the TRT100 starting line healthy. As an added bonus I ended up ranking pretty high on the Strava June Monthly Training Series (MTS) leader board. My 620km placed me at 16/39,702 runners participating. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the first page of a Strava challenge leader board.

Strava June Monthly Training Series (MTS)

Total Activities: 32
Total Hours: 63
Running Miles: 385
Racing Miles: 0

Strava Challenges Completed

Strava Prove It 40K RunStrava Prove It 80K RunStrava Prove It 120K RunStrava Prove It 160K RunStrava Prove It 200K RunStrava Races 10KStrava Races 13.1


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Monthly Miles: May Recap

I finally started ramping up my training volume in May by logging 78 more miles than April. This is just the beginning too. I’m hoping for a huge June to set myself up for a shot of going under 24 hours at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 in July. Speaking of which, I also finished the last four of eight required volunteer hours doing trail work on a new section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. That means I’m fully qualified to run the 100 miler.

This month Suunto sponsored the Sisu Challenge on Strava. Sisu is a Finnish word that means going against the odds and displaying courage. For the challenge we were supposed to courageously go beyond our limits and log 65 kilometers (40.4mi) between May 17th and June 1st. 20 miles a week is pretty low to be considered a challenge. It looks like they kept the bar low for a reason. Anyone who completes the “challenge” is eligible to purchase a Suunto Ambit2 R GPS watch with a heart rate monitor for $250.

May was a good stepping stone in my training for Tahoe. June will be my biggest month of training ever and I’m looking forward to seeing how my body responds to the increased running volume.

Total Activities: 29
Total Hours: 46
Running Miles: 282
Racing Miles: 0

Strava Challenges Completed

Strava Prove It 40K RunStrava Prove It 80K RunStrava Prove It 120K RunStrava Prove It 160K RunStrava Prove It 200K RunStrava Races 10KStrava Races 13.1Strava Suunto Sisu Challenge 50%Strava Suunto Sisu Challenge Complete


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Monthly Miles: April Recap

I didn’t achieve the running volume I was hoping for in April. Sometimes life gets in the way and you just have to roll with the flow. I was able to knock out two good weeks while letting the mileage slip during the other two. I was also able to fulfill 4 of the 8 hours of volunteer trail work that are required for the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 which I will be running in July. This month Strava finally gave runners a new challenge. For the week between the London Marathon and the Boston Marathon we had to run the distance of a marathon to complete the Marathon Challenge. I really need to get my volume up next month no matter what life throws at me.

Total Activities: 26
Total Miles: 206
Total Hours: 30
Running Miles: 206
Racing Miles: 0

Strava Challenges Completed

Strava Prove It 40K RunStrava Prove It 80K RunStrava Prove It 120K RunStrava Prove It 160K RunStrava Prove It 200K RunStrava Races 10KStrava Races 13.1Strava Marathon ChallengeStrava Marathon Challenge Complete


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Monthly Miles: March Recap

Considering I spent the first week of this month tapering and the second week recovering I’m happy with the amount of running miles I was able to log. From the 24th through the 30th I was able to log 70 miles running which is my highest weekly volume ever. The thing that suffered the most was my cycling due to a job change. Moving forward it looks like I will be logging significantly more running miles and less cycling miles.

Total Activities: 25
Total Miles: 231
Total Hours: 32
Cycling Miles: 33
Running Miles: 198
Racing Miles: 31

Races

Way Too Cool 50K

Strava Challenges Completed

Running

Strava Prove It 40K RunStrava Prove It 80K RunStrava Prove It 120K RunStrava Prove It 160K RunStrava Prove It 200K RunStrava Races 10KStrava Races 13.1Strava Goat Hill Segment Challenge


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Race Report: 2014 Way Too Cool

Way Too Cool 50K Logo

Last year at this race I was fighting piriformis issues and I tripped mid-race on a rock. This year I didn’t fare much better. My training was coming along nicely going into February and then I caught the flu which derailed me for a couple weeks. I missed out on running the Fort Ord 50K as a training race and I wasn’t able to get the miles in. Enough excuses, let’s get to what happened.

Even with the minimal training I thought I would have a shot at beating last year’s time if I ran smart. The plan was to go easier in the beginning so I could run more of the climbs which fall later in the race than I did last year. It was a sound theory but once the race started I apparently had forgotten about it. The first mile of this race is on the road and it is FAST. Everyone jockeys for position before the single track starts on the Olmstead Loop. Using Strava to compare my time on the first loop to last year, I accomplished my goal of going slower. By 5 seconds. Too fast!

Way Too Cool 50K Course Map

Way Too Cool 50K Course Map

After the Olmstead loop we headed down to Highway 49. While I was able to run it a little bit slower than last year (39 sec), I think I pushed it way too hard for the little amount of time I had spent on the trails lately. I have a feeling the pounding my legs took here would lead to them failing me later in the race.

Next up is a rolling fire road along the middle fork of the American River. I was able to run this section considerably slower, as planned. Around mile 13 I noticed my hamstrings were feeling particularly tight and was afraid they would blow up if I pushed too hard.

Running Along the American River

Around mile 17 is when you start the first real climb of the course. The climb is runnable for the most part but I had a problem. My hamstrings decided they had enough and were in quite a bit of pain. The lack of training time on the trails caught up to me. I decided to just cruise and or hike the next few miles to give them a rest and see if they would bounce back.

Way Too Cool 50K Elevation Profile

Way Too Cool 50K Elevation Profile

About mile 21 you reach the Auburn Lakes Trail (ALT) aid station. This signifies the top of the first climb and is the start of about 5 miles of very runnable trails. Too bad I still couldn’t run. It was heartbreaking to slowly jog this portion of the course.

Around the end of mile 26 lies the infamous Goat Hill. It is roughly a third of a mile long and you gain approximately 276 feet of elevation which equates to a 20% grade. This year Strava turned it into a segment challenge. Everyone who completed the segment challenge would be entered to randomly win some Strava prizes. I finished 101 out of 215 runners. Since I haven’t heard anything from Strava about prizes I’m going to assume I didn’t win.
Strava Segment ChallengeAt the top of Goat Hill is another aid station. After topping off my supplies I headed down the trail. Once again, this is a runnable section of the course and I was hobbled. It is mostly downhill with a few rolling sections thrown in. Somewhere in this section I ran into Bruce Cyra who I ran a large portion of this race with last year. I hopped into the group he was with for a little while before my hamstrings needed another break.

After reaching the Highway 49 crossing you’re treated to your final aid station before heading up the final climb. This climb isn’t that tough on its own but after suffering through 29 miles it can be a pain in the ass. Luckily after the climb you aren’t far from the finish line where your frog cupcake is waiting for you!

Way Too Cool Frog Cupcake

Mine Looks Kind of Sad This Year

I finished the race in 5:34:54. About 50 minutes slower than I did last year. Given the shape I was in I probably shouldn’t have expected more but if I had stuck to my more conservative plan I probably would have done better. Just a couple weeks later I’ve made huge gains in my fitness and I’m ready to tackle the next challenge.

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